The hope of all Christians is that, by God’s mercy, we will enjoy eternal life with God; our whole selves, body and soul, will be taken up into heaven. The salvation that we are promised is the salvation of the whole person. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, has already received this blessing. At the end of Mary’s earthly life, God took her up into heavenly glory, body and soul. Today’s Feast of the Assumption celebrates that special gift.
In today’s Gospel reading, we find Mary as a very young woman, who has just conceived Jesus by God’s power. She celebrates the good news with her cousin Elizabeth, who has also received the miraculous gift of a child. In her hymn of praise, the Magnificat, Mary rejoices in what God has done for her, transforming her life. It will not be an easy road for Mary – a sword of sorrow will pierce her soul, when she sees her Son suffer and die. But she never ceases to trust in God.
In the life of Mary, we see how God’s plan of salvation unfolds. God works through the little ones. The Son of God comes into the world as a child of a poor family. The rich, the powerful and the proud are cast down; the poor and the lowly are raised up. By the power of God, Mary was kept free from original sin; throughout her life, she trusted completely in God; and, at the end of her life, God raised her up. As disciples of Christ, we are called to follow Mary’s example, trusting in God and rejoicing in what God has done for us. By the mercy of God, we too can hope to be raised up, body and soul, to eternal glory.
St Godric’s will be open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week, 2.00-3.00 pm for private prayer. For full details including this week’s Mass times, see www.durhammartyrs.co.uk/post/information-on-reopening-for-mass-and-private-prayer
The Diocese of Middlesbrough has set up a system to allow people who do not have internet access to listen to Mass over the telephone. This service can be accessed by calling 01642 130120.
The Parish Office is closed until further notice. Ciara is working from home, and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org but replies may take some time. You can contact the church by telephone on 0191 384 3442 – please leave a message if Fr Andrew is not in.
The University Hospital of North Durham still has restrictions in place regarding visits to patients – see the hospital website for the latest information. However, the Catholic Chaplain is still able to visit patients, and can bring them Holy Communion and the Sacrament of the Sick. If you know of a patient who wishes for a visit from the Catholic Hospital Chaplain, please inform Fr Paul Tully on 01388 818544 or email@example.com
For visits to patients in St Cuthbert’s Hospice, in care homes or in their own homes, please contact Fr Andrew.
If you can, please consider switching to make your regular contribution to the Parish via a bank Standing Order. For details, contact Andy Doyle on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0798 543 4185
Please check the parish website, www.stcuthberts-durham.org.uk for regular updates. If you’re not already subscribed to our weekly e-newsletter, you can subscribe here. Also check the ‘St Cuthbert’s Church, Durham’ page on Facebook – from there, you can join our new Facebook group, ‘St Cuthbert’s Parish Community,’ which already has more than 100 members.
We have a network of parishioners who are keeping in touch via telephone, while social distancing is in force. If you would like to be contacted regularly (especially if you don’t have internet access), or if you know someone who would welcome such contact, please contact Fr Andrew on 0191 3843442 or email@example.com.
The August edition of our diocesan newspaper is now available, online only, at www.northerncross.org.uk The Northern Cross is facing significant financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – please consider supporting the paper by taking out an online or print subscription, via the website or by post: Subscriptions Dept, Northern Cross, c/o WM Fortune & Son, Collingwood House, Church Square, Hartlepool, TS24 7EN.
This is offered online every Sunday at 10am. You can register via the CAFOD website: https://cafod.org.uk/Education/Children-s-liturgy
CAFOD is responding to the emergency in Beirut, where explosions have killed more than 200 people, and left many more homeless, and also facing the threat of coronavirus. Find out more, and donate, at www.cafod.org.uk
The Bishops’ Conference website has responses from the Bishops to current events including the refugee crisis and the problem of domestic violence. Www.cbcew.org.uk
Just over a week ago, the world remembered the horrors of the atomic bombs which were exploded above Hiroshima on the 6th August and Nagasaki on the 9th August, 1945. Among the survivors from the hypocentre, in each case, were a few devastated trees. Many years later, cuttings from these trees were distributed internationally as a peace offering. Small progeny now grow in Gloucestershire; Maidenhair Trees from Hiroshima and Kaki Trees (Chinese Persimmon) from Nagasaki. Commemorative cards are available – please take one.
A number of qualified counsellors and listeners have generously made themselves available to anyone who may be troubled by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown. These counsellors and listeners can be contacted through the St Mary’s Cathedral Listening Service on 0191 232 6953 and the Northumberland Listening Service on 07732 980740.
Diocesan Justice & Peace Refugee Project is continuing to provide food for destitute asylum seekers, using digital supermarket vouchers. Details of how to contribute are at www.rchdn.org.uk or contact Helen Woodland on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07407 091184.
Nepacs is a North-East charity which aims to promote a positive future for prisoners, offenders and their relatives by supporting family ties at every stage of the criminal justice system. Some of our parishioners volunteer with Nepacs, and we regularly support their appeal for toiletries and other basic items to help prisoners on their release. A representative of Nepacs will give us a Zoom presentation on the work of the charity on Thursday 20th August at 7.00pm.
You can find the Zoom log in details for the presentation in the parish Facebook Group, or contact Margaret Doyle on 07719 906177 or email@example.com
Sunday 9 August
Open for pre-booked attendance
No Public Mass
No Public Mass
For the sick & their families. NHS front-line workers & those working in social care.
No Public Mass
Sunday 16 – The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Open for pre-booked attendance
Thursday 20 – St Bernard Ab, D
Friday 21 – The Dedication of St Mary's Catherdral
Sunday 23 – Sunday XXI
Open for pre-booked attendance
Sudden storms are common on the Sea of Galilee, and in today’s Gospel, we find Jesus’ disciples battling a storm in the middle of the night. They were experienced fishermen and they knew the power of the sea. But if the disciples were frightened by the storm, they were truly terrified when, as they thought, they saw a ghost walking across the waves towards them. Peter recognised Jesus and, at first, put his faith in the Lord, walking across the waves towards them. But Peter panicked when he felt the wind, and he needed Jesus to save him. The disciples were in awe when they saw that Jesus had power over the wind and the sea – surely only God can control the forces of nature?
This Gospel story is both a demonstration of Jesus’ power as Son of God, and a symbol of the Christian life. As we journey through life, we sometimes face high winds and rough seas. We may feel afraid and wonder if we can make it through. Or, like Peter, we may be ready to put our trust in Jesus, but then panic when we see what we are up against. Sometimes, we have to experience those moments of panic to remind us that we do depend completely on God.
The coronavirus pandemic is a storm that has turned our whole world upside down. We have learned that the forces of nature are not always under our control, and we are left wondering what the future holds. This strange and disturbing time is the right time to renew our faith in Christ, the one who does have power to calm all the storms that threaten us. Like Elijah, we will encounter the Lord, not in the violence of the storm, but in the quiet of the gentle breeze.
Pauline Books & Media at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle will begin reopening this weekend. Opening hours are subject to change, so please check the Facebook page, or telephone 0191 2316040 to confirm.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul is continuing to operate during the pandemic. You can find information, and resources aimed at children and young people, at www.svp.org.uk and www.instagram.com/svpyoungvincentians/
Following on from their visit to St Cuthbert’s earlier this year, the Columbans in Britain would like to invite you to join a virtual encounter with Marjorie Engcoy, a Columban Lay Missionary from the Philippines assigned to Fiji, on Wednesday 12th August at 7.00pm. In her work as a lay missionary, Marjorie has been involved in various different ministries such as youth, children, women, liturgy, evangelisation, leadership and JPIC. Marjorie looks forward to explaining some of these ministries in more detail and how through her mission work overseas she has experienced God’s love and His promise: “I will be with you, always.” The free hour-long call will include a prayer, a short introduction and then move to a question and answer forum. We hope this will be a real encounter and not simply something to watch, so numbers will be limited. The webinar encounter will be held on Zoom, and so you’ll need a suitable device and a reliable internet connection. Register at https://tinyurl.com/MeetAColumbanMissionary